DD Direct to add channels, woo subscribers

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MUMBAI: Though it has seen some growth in strength with the entry of channels like B4U Music, 9X Music,

Deutsche Welle, and some channels from southern India, the country’s only free-to-air (FTA) direct-to-home service DD Direct Plus is having to reinvent itself to beat the competition.
This appears to be the main reason for the lowering of the carriage fee for all private FTA channels from Rs 10 million to Rs 2.5 million along with a service tax of Rs 300,000. However, foreign broadcasters have to pay a carriage fee of Rs 5 million.

The imposition of the carriage fee of Rs 10 million had resulted in almost all news and many general entertainment channels quitting the platform. At present, the only private Indian news channel on the platform is Total TV.

Incidentally, leading Hindi news channel Aaj Tak has recently turned pay.

The first DTH platform to be launched in the country, DD Direct had initially been launched by offering free carriage to different FTA channels. As a result, almost all the news channels had come on the platform.

However, Doordarshan sources told indiantelevision.com that new steps were being taken to get back the channels and also invite newer FTA channels to join the platform. The reduction of the fee in mid-2007 had only been the first step, they added.

DD Direct is now beaming 42 television channels and 21 radio channels. The television channels include 22 private channels, while all the radio channels are those of All India Radio.

Sources said that Korean Broadcasting corporation (Korean TV) was also joining the platform shortly and negotiations were at an advanced stage with Bengali channel Tara Bangla.

Being the FTA DTH Service Provider, DD Direct only has a one-time charge for dish antennae, set top box and installation ranging between Rs 4,000 to Rs 8,000 depending on the brand chosen by the consumer.

DD Direct is in competition with private DTH sevice providers like Dish TV, Tata Sky and Sun Direct.

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